Best resin to fill bowling ball holes

I’m working on an art project where I have to fill up bowling ball holes. I know I can buy bowling ball hole filler ($75), but I’m shooting for a cheaper solution that I can buy at a local Michael’s, Home Depot or West Marine.

The resin has to be impact resistant as I’m hitting them with sledgehammers (I’ve got a plan to mitigate breakage of said bowling balls).

How many bowling balls do you need to do? I saw Kwik Plug quarts online for $40.00 I couldn’t read the directions anywhere but I think that’s the right stuff.

JB-weld would work pretty well for this, but would take a lot of the small tubes. I think I have seen it sold as a pair of quart cans.

Casting resin would be your cheapest option. I’ve been able to find it at most art supply stores. It’s in Michael’s online store, but that’s no guarantee that you local Michael’s carries it instore, so I would call ahead before making the trip.

I don’t know what will happen to the resin when you sledgehammer the ball; it may break with the bowling ball, or you may end up with some finger shaped pieces of resin poking out of the fracture.

Take it to a bowling alley. Filling and redrilling is extremely cheap as I remember. Filling only should be even cheaper and will look better than anything you can do yourself.

How about some wine corks driven in and topped with JB Weld?

Thanks for the answers.

I’ve got to fill 6 bowling balls (or more, I’ve collected 19 bowling balls so far) so I can’t really afford to pay a bowling alley to do it. I’m going to give it a go with casting resin.

Bondo. it’s pretty much what the innards of the ball are made of already.

Fiberglass resin. You can get it at most auto parts stores. Fairly inexpensive.

i.e. polyester resin, which is what Bondo is (with the addition of a bunch of fillers to make it sandable and less brittle.

If these are used bowling balls, you might want to wash out the holes with a solvent (acetone?) To remove the accumulated finger-grease, as this may stop the fill from bonding to the inside of the holes.

Home Depot sells Bondo brand fiberglass resin, $15 for a quart.

I know it sounds like I’m harping, but I would really recommend the Bondo body filler instead of the straight polyester resin. The resin is fairly brittle when cured; the styrene fillers in the body filler give it some impact resistance.

On opening this thread, an ad for an epoxy gel appeared.

Being in the marine industry, repairing and refinishing boats, I would suggest not using any polyester resin formulations since the shrinkage that occurs upon curing is significant, and could result in a plug that falls out.

Epoxy formulations have much less shrinkage, almost zero in some cases and provide much better adhesion . Resilience is much better than polyester as well, and probably a significant factor if you are planning to use a sledge hammer on your balls .

Epoxy is more expensive, but if you buy a small portion of the laminating epoxy like the West system and mix it with an inexpensive inert filler that you might buy at your local marine store, you can increase the volume of filler 3 or 4 times without significantly affecting the desired properties of the epoxy resin.

Is this what you are doing?

Thanks for the advice. I’m really just looking for a quick and cheap solution. It doesn’t really matter if it breaks, as my art project will only be a 24 hour event. I notice that even if you use real bowling ball polyurethane filler, you fill the hole halfway to compensate for heat and shrinkage. In any case, since I’m spending a small fortune for this project, I’m thinking that I’ll just buy the real thing.

Since I have 21 bowling balls, I’ve been thinking of other projects. The Newton’s cradle was one of them. Glad to see that the internal weight distribution would fuck it up. It would have been a bitch to build a portable frame anyhow.